"This is hard to swallow right now."
Head Coach Jon Gruden admitted following the Las Vegas Raiders' 35-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a bitter pill to digest. From start to finish, the AFC West division rivals were engaged in an instant classic, exchanging blows back and forth, but unfortunately, the Chiefs landed the final blow.
With less than one minute left in regulation, Patrick Mahomes led a surgical drive downfield, eventually resulting in the go-ahead touchdown to Travis Kelce.
But it shouldn't take away from the effort put forth by the Raiders in all three phases of the game.
The Sunday night bout at Allegiant Stadium was hard-fought and featured numerous clutch plays from the Silver and Black, starting with the opening drive of the game. Derek Carr's first two passes each exceeded 25 yards and brought his career passing yards total to 25,000. Carr is well on his way to eclipsing Ken Stabler's franchise record of 27,938 passing yards. Carr's milestone drive concluded in a Josh Jacobs touchdown and initiated what would be an offensive outpouring from both teams.
"This is the best offense I've ever been a part of," Carr said following the game. "This group is awesome, and I know I say it every week, but we can win in different ways you know? We can smash them with the run game, or we can do a shootout. We're proving that over time and the exciting part is that everyone's young — I'm the old guy in the group I guess. It's exciting because you see where we're headed, it's showing you little glimpses. … It's exciting, but today it wasn't enough.
Combined, the Raiders and the Chiefs amassed for 824 total yards, 61 first downs, and each converted on four of their five red-zone trips — it's to be noted, the Chiefs' failed red-zone trip resulted in a Trayvon Mullen interception (both of Mahomes interceptions this season have been against the Raiders).
The battle between Carr and Mahomes was nothing short of spectacular, as the opposing signal-callers kept pace with each other all night. Carr completed 23 of his 31 pass attempts for 275 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception — a circumstantial, last-second heave — while Mahomes completed 34 of 45 passes for 348 yards, two touchdowns, and the aforementioned interception.
The battle of the tight ends was a sight to see as well, as Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, two of the best at their position, tried to out-do the other throughout the game. Both found the end zone with Kelce's touchdown being the game-winner.
When the Raiders review the tape on Monday, they'll see a tightly contested game that was determined by only a couple of plays, well within the Raiders' reach. The Raiders were deprived of a big play or were on the receiving because of an untimely penalty, or a miscommunication. Part two of the Raiders-Chiefs 2020 series was ultimately decided in the final minute of play, and while it's a tough pill to swallow, Gruden is still proud of his guys.
"I'm really proud of our team," he said postgame. "Congratulations to the Chiefs; they made a couple more plays than we did."
View photos from the Raiders' Week 11 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium.